22 SES 12 B, Non-Traditional Students’ Meeting Higher Education. Academic Integration and Drop Out.
This paper reports on two distinct, but interlinked, research projects concerning the experiences of non-traditional students in UK higher education (HE) with the aim of exploring how retention of such students could be enhanced. Whilst non-traditional groups are generally less likely to complete HE programmes successfully (Corver, 2005), there are substantial variations between different universities, indicating that support in HE can make a significant difference. The first project explored the experiences of students who participated in the National Scholarship Programme (a UK scheme providing financial support for low-income students) alongside a matched sample. Mixed methods included an online questionnaire, tracking attainment data and interviews. The second project explored the experiences of care leaver students through in-depth interviews. In both projects, parts of the data-set were analysed using a resilience framework to identify risk and protective factors for individual students and compare these to outcomes. Although a number of the factors are beyond the university’s control, many others are open to influence. Findings suggest that early identification of students at risk together with targeted support measures could impact positively on outcomes. Corver, M. (2005) Young Participation in Higher Education: HEFCE 2005/03
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